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Repairs to B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway will take months, especially during winter: province

Click to play video: 'B.C. floods: Highway and rail damage unprecedented' B.C. floods: Highway and rail damage unprecedented
The magnitude of damage to B.C.'s major highways and rail system from the slides is said to be unprecedented. Repairs will be expensive and lengthy. And while one or two routes could be reopened to limited traffic by this weekend, as Ted Chernecki reports, it could be months before the Coquihalla is passable again – Nov 18, 2021

Repairs to the Coquihalla Highway connecting B.C.’s Lower Mainland and the Interior are expected to take months.

The provincial government confirmed the news Thursday, saying the stretch between Hope and Merritt contains five areas that have been hit hard by the rain, flooding and mudslides following the storm.

Click to play video: 'B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway seen from the air shows extent of the damage' B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway seen from the air shows extent of the damage
B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway seen from the air shows extent of the damage – Nov 16, 2021

Initial damage assessments have been completed, Paula Cousins, regional executive director at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, said at a media briefing. However, even temporary repairs are going to take months.

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Read more: New photos of Coquihalla Highway flood damage released

Sections of the Coquihalla Highway have been snapped in two and complete sections have been washed away.

The province has already begun sourcing temporary Bailey Bridges across North America.

Click to play video: '‘I heard this loud terrifying roar’: Global News cameraman shares details of surviving Duffey Lake mudslide' ‘I heard this loud terrifying roar’: Global News cameraman shares details of surviving Duffey Lake mudslide
‘I heard this loud terrifying roar’: Global News cameraman shares details of surviving Duffey Lake mudslide – Nov 17, 2021

However, plans for repairs will be very costly and work will be hampered by the winter months when the highway is covered in snow.

Read more: Current status of B.C.’s major highways and roadways as routes remain closed

“Clearly there will be five job sites going,” Minister of Transporation Rob Fleming said Thursday.

“Is there a way we can move heavy equipment in via helicopter or overland some other way? But that will be the challenge. And again, in winter conditions. You all know what winter is like on the Coquihalla at the best of times and we’re going into the teeth of winter right now.”

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